Woman’s Suitcase Arrives At Sacramento International Airport In Shreds

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – When a local woman went to the baggage claim at Sacramento International Airport, she found her bag was ripped to shreds.

Michelle Barry-Walsh says she was traveling home from the east coast with Southwest when it happened. She says the airline has replaced her bag and apologized for what happened, but she says the gesture wasn’t good enough.

After Barry-Walsh saw her damaged bag, she took to social media demanding answers.

“Kind of a once-in-a-lifetime trip for me and my daughter,” she said.

Barry-Walsh was one of several parents chaperoning her daughter’s 8th grade class to Washington D.C. last week.

“It was a great trip; so much fun,” she said.

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It was fun, but exhausting, she said. On the way home, they were forced to take a connecting flight back to Sacramento International Airport. But what Barry-Walsh didn’t expect to see in the baggage carousel was her shredded luggage.

“I look at it; and I’m just looking at it; and I could not really grasp what I’m looking at,” she said.

Credit: Michelle Barry-Welsh

Credit: Michelle Barry-Welsh

As surreal as it was, she could clearly see her personal property though multiple gaping holes. Some of it was damaged or destroyed.

“That’s the inside, and what I see is this pink dribble coming down. It’s my Pepto-Bismol leaking,” she said.

Barry-Walsh says a Southwest Airlines spokesperson told her the suitcase somehow bounced off a mobile cart and onto the tarmac.

“Got run over and subsequently drug across the tarmac,” she said.

She was surprised with what a Southwest customer service rep offered to make it right.

“So then after we go through the whole thing, she gave me a check for $80. I’m like, ‘what about my suitcase?’ But she’s like, ‘we gave you a replacement bag,’” said Barry-Walsh.

This was part of the offer.

“And this is the one they gave me to replace my bag,” she said.

It’s a thin, lightweight generic piece of luggage.

“This is like a $5 Target bag. That was part of an American Tourister set,” she said.

She posted the picture on her social media and even targeted Southwest.

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“So I’m like, you know, I’m going to put this on their Facebook page because they should make it better,” she said.

Barry Walsh says within days of her post, not only did she get $80 but a $75 flight voucher and another apology from Southwest.

She says the power of social media can get answers.

“There’s no excuse for anyone’s suitcase to be bounced off and drug across the tarmac. It makes no sense,” she said.

Southwest sent a statement reading in part:

“…when we miss the mark with customer service, we work within the guidelines of our contract of carriage to better the customer’s experience.

Our employees worked with the customer to replace her bag and provide the necessary compensation for damaged items.”

Meanwhile, Southwest customers trying to book tickets online had trouble doing so today. The airline says the issue is connected to its 72-hour cheap ticket sale, and it’s working to fix the problem.

For the next three days, Southwest is offering deeply-discounted one-way fares based on distance. Some customers also reported having trouble using the airline’s online check-in feature.

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